Chamber, Main Street fill vacancies

By Kelly Ducote / The Observer October 02, 2013 10:55 am
After five months without an executive director, the Union County Chamber of Commerce has filled the vacancy.

Kristen Dollarhide will start Monday as CEO for the Chamber, and Chamber officials could not be more pleased.

“We’re super excited to get her in here,” said Matt Scarfo, Chamber president.

Dollarhide’s background includes office management, human resources, sales, marketing, event project management and more. She and her family relocated to Union County in January. Dollarhide has been employed with Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Baker City.

Before moving to Union County, Dollarhide and her family were in the Yamhill Valley, where she worked at Freeling-Wade Co. She was also involved in the Chamber of Commerce as a member and as a board member. In 2012 she was named the McMinnville Area Chamber of Commerce Director of the Year. She has nearly a decade of Chamber involvement under her belt.

“I am looking forward to my new role as executive director. I am very passionate about the Chamber community,” Dollarhide told the Union County Chamber Times. “I believe in its capacity to market, promote and enhance the businesses in Union County. I am excited to hit the ground running.”

Scarfo, owner of Benchwarmers Pub & Grill, said Dollarhide is aware of the added tasks that come with the director chair in Union County. The Chamber, on top of traditional ribbon cuttings and business activities, also operates the Blue Mountain Conference Center and handles the county’s tourism. A meet and greet will be scheduled for sometime next week for people to meet Dollarhide and experience her enthusiasm.

“In my opinion, the director needs to have that enthusiasm, that energy,” he said. “I can’t wait for everyone to meet her.”

La Grande Main Street

When La Grande Main Street’s coordinator rotated out of Oregon’s Rural Assistance for Rural Environments AmeriCorps program, officials weren’t sure what the next move would be or whether a new RARE participant was in the works.

Main Street President John Howard said they have filled the coordinator position after many interviews. Saira Siddiqui will soon be making the move from Buffalo, N.Y., to La Grande.

“She’s going to be used to the weather,” Howard quipped.

Siddiqui is in Oregon this week for the 2013 Oregon Main Street Conference in Astoria. Then, she will make a trip to La Grande to prepare for a cross-country move.

Howard said Siddiqui had the chance to talk with Alana Garner, the previous coordinator, to get up to speed on what’s been happening in La Grande. Siddiqui has a bachelor of arts in environmental design from the University of Buffalo and has interned in the Buffalo’s mayor’s office and co-founded Buffalo GroOperative, the city’s first worker-owned vertical farm cooperative.

Siddiqui is expected to take the reins of coordinator by the end of the month.